Upper Green River Valley Initiative
Upper Green River Valley, WY. Photo by Mark Gocke/www.markgocke.com.
At A Glance
- The Upper Green River Valley forms the southern core of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, the world’s most intact temperate ecosystem.
- The Valley sits atop two of the nation’s highest-producing natural gas fields and is threatened with resource development.
- Large-scale family ranches comprise most of the Green River Valley’s private lands.
- The Valley is home to the “Path of the Pronghorn,” the longest land mammal migration in the continental United States.
- To date, the initiative has protected nearly 20,000 acres of private land and enhanced more than 90,000 acres of public lands.
The Conservation Fund and a host of partners launched the Upper Green River Valley Initiative in 2008 to conserve and enhance key wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in the region. To date, we have worked with numerous public and private partners to conserve nearly 53,000 acres of private land and enhance more than 90,000 acres of public lands, including key migration routes, miles of river frontage, sage grouse habitat and crucial winter range for moose, elk, mule deer and pronghorn.
Protecting Wildlife Habitat And Family Ranches
Flanked by the Wyoming and Wind River ranges, the Upper Green River Valley forms the southern core of the world’s most intact temperate ecosystem—the Greater Yellowstone. The Valley is home to the “Path of the Pronghorn,” the longest land mammal migration in the continental United States, stretching from Grand Teton National Park south to winter range in the Red Desert, a distance of over 200 miles. For over 7,000 years, Pronghorn antelope and other wildlife such as elk, Shiras moose and mule deer have navigated the Valley’s unique topography every season. Yet due to its unparalleled natural resources, the Valley and its wildlife are now in peril.
For generations, traditional, large-scale family ranches have comprised most of the Green River Valley’s private lands, sharing the natural wealth with the species that migrate across the landscape’s ancient pathways. But the Valley also sits atop two of the nation’s highest-producing natural gas fields and is threatened with the full trappings of resource development—roads, well pads, power lines and residential subdivisions.
A swath of wide-open private ranchlands in the Valley is the best hope for conserving the region’s rich wildlife resources. As part of the Upper Green River Valley Initiative, ranchers are collaborating with the Fund, public and private partners, and community leaders to protect and enhance more than 150,000 acres and preserve Wyoming’s unique wildlife habitat and traditional ranching economy. These ranches have been selected for their top wildlife habitat and include some of the most important bottlenecks on the “Path of the Pronghorn” as well as critical sage grouse habitat.